In today’s culture there is a tendency to associate capitalism with religion. That association stems from generations of conservatives suggesting that what makes America free, great, and exceptional is faith. So it’s hardly a surprise that many Americans who revere science oppose capitalism.
Cronyism is on everyone’s lips these days. The conventional view is that wealthy “special interests” — typically businesses — use their resources to influence elections and “game the system.” The result is special favors for them at the expense of everyone else. Ours is a government not of, by, and for the people, this view holds, but of, by, and for the “special interests.” Our system is not capitalism, they claim, but “crony-capitalism.”
Not too long ago, Steven Greenhut wrote an unusually good piece for U-T San Diego, criticizing employers in California’s construction industry for lobbying for a regulatory crack down on its lower-cost competition. He correctly points out the futility of their approach: “[B]y lobbying for new rules on others rather than for less red tape for everyone, they have lost any right to seriously complain about any additional regulations future Legislatures impose on them.”
A new study by Nicole Craig and Mark Craig, professors of economics at Lafayette University, estimates that the cost of federal regulations is $2 trillion. That amounts to billions of hours in compliance.
The Wall Street Journal offers a good take down of the arguments for the Export-Import Bank, which the House just reauthorized for another 6 months. One irony in this debate, which the Journal notes: many on the left, including the Obama administration, Elizabeth Warren, and Nancy Pelosi, support the Ex-Im bank despite their real antipathy for business and their professed antipathy for “the rich” obtaining benefits at the expense of everyone else. As the Journal explains, “these liberals are friends of business only when government is allocating the favors.” That’s true, but the issue goes deeper than handing out favors.
I had a strong sense of déjà vu when I read this Wall Street Journal editorial about Argentina’s harassment of a U.S. printing company for closing a plant in Buenos Aires. Why did this sound so familiar?
In Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, Alex Tabarok reviews a new book that provides yet another glimpse into the inner workings of our destructive regulatory state. The book, called Innovation Breakdown: How the FDA and Wall Street Cripple Medical Advances, chronicles the fight by a company called MELA Sciences to win approval from the FDA for a noninvasive method for detecting skin cancer. Initially enthusiastic about the product, the FDA later turned against the company when a new FDA director with a less favorable view of business came on board. The author of the book, who was the company’s CEO at the time (he has since retired), spent a year of his life at great personal cost fighting with the FDA before prevailing.
For years, many craft brewers in Florida have been directly working with the stores that sell their products. But now Florida lawmakers are entertaining a bill that will make such direct dealings illegal, forcing craft brewers to instead use state-licensed distributors as middlemen.
The proliferation of the food truck industry has created numerous opportunities for entrepreneurial-minded Americans to start their own business. It is hard enough to succeed in the mobile cuisine business given how fiercely competitive the restaurant industry is. But government regulations are making it even harder for food truck entrepreneurs to stay afloat.